For the past 20 or so paintings, I worked abstractly – letting the process dictate the final image. In this painting I tried to return to using a source photo but being quite free in my interpretation of it. The source image is shown below.
This photo was taken more than 10 years ago on a farm near Cullinan (South Africa) on which I lived for some years. I now only have an old, stained printed version of this photo.
I often paint twilight scenes, but I am terrified of literal sunsets featuring a visible sun. I believe this is one of my first attempts at rendering a sun in a literal way.
From dawn to dusk: how to be myself? When Nisargadatta was asked to explain the path to Self-Realization, he replied that there was no path, because “what you are seeking is too close to you to allow for a path”.
An old man now, I realize that the act of breaking through the chains of social demands and conventions to free a truer version of oneself is the supreme battle of life and death. Truly, there is no journey more complex, risky and rewarding than gaining, day-by-day, greater congruence between the being you most naturally are and the one you present to your family and society at large. (Jasper Mouton)
Zen master Shunryu Suzuki had something more pragmatic to say about becoming ourselves:
When we ‘just sit’ in meditation, we include everything. There is nothing else, nothing but you. This is shikantaza. We become completely ourselves. We have everything, and we are fully satisfied. There is nothing to attain, so we have a sense of gratitude or joyful mind…we practice like someone who is close to dying. There is nothing to rely on, nothing to depend on. Because you are dying, you don’t want anything, so you cannot be fooled by anything. Most people are not only fooled by something, but also by themselves. We should know whether or not we are fooling ourselves. (Shunryu Suzuki, in “Not Always So“)
But for me the poet always has the last word. Here are some parts of May Sarton’s poem, Now I Become Myself:
Now I become myself. It's taken Time, many years and places; I have been dissolved and shaken, Worn other people's faces, Run madly, as if Time were there, Terribly old, crying a warning, "Hurry, you will be dead before--" (What? Before you reach the morning? Or the end of the poem is clear? Or love safe in the walled city?) Now to stand still, to be here, Feel my own weight and density! ... Now there is time and Time is young. O, in this single hour I live All of myself and do not move. I, the pursued, who madly ran, Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!
Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content.